An earthquake is the shaking and vibration of the surface of the earth resulting from underground movement along the fault plane or from volcanic activity. It usually results from the sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust which creates seismic waves. The aftermath always results in widespread destruction of property and loss of lives depending on the magnitude of the respective earthquake. These magnitudes are often reported on the Richter magnitude scales which describe their strengths. Therefore, this survey is intended to examine earthquakes of all magnitudes over a period of one week both in the USA and the world over.
The week recorded three earthquakes that had a magnitude larger than 6.0. The quakes were experienced in three separate locations namely Yujing in Taiwan, Panguna in Papua New Guinea and Ovalle in Chile. Over the last one week the number of earthquakes that recorded a magnitude between 4.5 and 6.0 are 91. This figure represents earthquakes that occurred all over the world. The largest earthquakes were located in two separate locations namely 24km SSE of Yujing in Taiwan and 92km WSW of Panguna in Papua New Guinea. They occurred on 5th and 8th of February respectively. They recorded a similar magnitude of 6.4.
Apart from the United States, the other country that witnessed the highest number of earthquakes over the last seven days is Chile, particularly the Ovalle region. It is evident in the world map because the circle representing the earthquakes in Chile is larger and repeats itself severally. Besides that Chile has also appeared individually in the list of countries with earthquake occurrences.
The most recent earthquake with a magnitude greater than 4.5 was located 56km SSW of Pangai in Tonga. It occurred on the 10TH of February 15:10:33 UTC. The magnitude of this earthquake was 5.4 while its depth was 35km. regarding depth; earthquakes are classified into three zones namely shallow, intermediate and deep. Shallow earthquakes occur between the ranges of 0-70 km, intermediate occur 70-300 km and deep earthquakes 300-700 km. considering that the depth of the earthquake in Tonga was 35km; it is classified as a shallow quake. The type of boundary that exists in the region where Tonga is located is a convergent boundary. A convergent boundary is where two plates move towards each other (Condie, 2013). They are associated with reverse faults and thus, experience some of the most powerful earthquakes on the planet with magnitudes greater than 8.0. Earthquakes are frequent in this region because of the converging Pacific and Indo-Australian plates.
The deepest earthquake was located 238km NNE of Ndoi Island in Fiji. It had a magnitude of 4.3 and a depth of 618km. it occurred on the 6th of February at 12:55:57. On the other hand, the shallowest earthquake was located on 10th February 24 km NNE of Badger in Alaska. It had a magnitude of 1.4 and a depth of 0 km. It is evident that the deepest earthquakes were located on the convergent boundaries where two plates were moving towards each other as in the case of Pacific plate and the Indo-Australian plates. The shallowest earthquake was located within the plates where no collision of plates could cause considerable depths. Consequently, this was evident because collisions of plates or convergent boundaries tend to result in powerful earthquakes that have larger magnitudes and depths.
The earthquake that occurred 6km SSW of Ladson in South Carolina was the nearest to my location. It had a magnitude of 1.9 and a depth of 0.7 km. the depth was very shallow even though it is located slightly far from the boundaries.
There is a close relationship between convergent boundaries and the largest, numerous and deepest earthquakes that were recorded in the world. Most earthquakes occurred between the Pacific and Indo-Australian plate boundaries. The other region with a higher number of recorded earthquakes was the border between Nazca and the South American plates. The line between the Caribbean and North American plates was also an earthquake zone.
These regions experienced numerous earthquakes because they are convergent boundaries. The characteristic feature of these borders is that they always move towards each other. When this occurs they at times, collide or crash thus resulting in massive earthquakes of larger magnitudes. Therefore, the types of faults created are deeper, and this is what result into earthquakes with greater depths. This kind of boundary is also associated with higher rates of earthquake occurrence. Consequently, based on this knowledge this is what is expected to happen in these zones considering the type of boundaries surrounding these countries. Other areas that experience earthquakes with low magnitudes tend to be located in either divergent or conservative boundaries that are associated with small destruction (Tramutoli, Aliano, Corrado, Filizzola, Genzano, Lisi & Pergola, 2013).
In conclusion, from the list of earthquakes provided that occurred over the last seven days, it is evident that the earthquakes were frequent and numerous along converging plate boundaries. These areas are earthquake prone zones because of the colliding plates which cause frequent quakes compared to other regions that border either conservative or divergent plate boundaries.
Condie, K. C. (2013). Plate tectonics & crustal evolution. Elsevier.
Tramutoli, V., Aliano, C., Corrado, R., Filizzola, C., Genzano, N., Lisi, M., … & Pergola, N. (2013). On the possible origin of thermal infrared radiation (TIR) anomalies in earthquake-prone areas observed using robust satellite techniques (RST). Chemical Geology, 339, 157-168.
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